Interview: China, U.S. should rise above pessimism, cynicism

2015-06-22 08:01Xinhua Editor: Wang Fan

To pursue a more robust relationship, China and the United States should demonstrate to the world their ability to rise above pessimism and cynicism, said Cheng Li, an expert on China at the Brookings Institution, a renowned U.S. think tank.

China and the U.S. should continue to seek consensus and enhance cooperation in various fields in a bid to help maintain world peace and economic prosperity, Li, director of John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview ahead of the major talks between the two countries this week.

Pessimistic views of China, or even calls to deter China seem to be on the rise recently in the U.S., Li said, but they are by no means mainstream opinions and should not be attributed to policymakers at the White House.

"The underlying fact is that as China rapidly rises, the West is reassessing China," Li said, adding "It comes as no surprise that in this process people have different views of China."

As many U.S. experts on China point out, the two countries will continue to chart a trajectory for a more cooperative relationship, he said, calling on Washington and Beijing not to be affected by pessimism or unhelpful cries from interest groups.

Li said China and the U.S. have more shared interests than differences, citing cooperation and coordination between the two countries on issues such as climate change, counterterrorism, global public health, and preventing nuclear proliferation.

In an ever-globalizing world, he added, the two peoples, especially the youths, also have many common values and lifestyles that are conducive to better communicating and understanding between the two countries.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, China and the U.S. will hold the seventh China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue and the sixth China-U.S. High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange in Washington, the centerpiece of robust high-level exchanges between the two countries.

Li said the meetings will provide a platform for China and the U.S. to exchange views on key issues of common concern, promote interactions between government agencies and officials, and reassure each other about their countries' strategic intentions.

"Such exchange mechanism helps prevent further disagreement between our two countries," Li said, noting that there are more than 90 dialogues and consultations between China and the U.S.. " These mechanisms are very positive on bilateral relations."

Li also hailed China's Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st- Century Maritime Silk Road initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as a boost for infrastructure development in China 's neighbors as well as countries in other regions.

It would be a misunderstanding to view these initiatives as part of China's strategy to challenge the economic status of the United States, Li said.

"As the two greatest beneficiaries of global economic development, and world's largest economies, the U.S. and China should focus more on our common interest and promote mutual benefit and win-win outcomes," he said.

On cyber security issues, Li said he hoped the U.S. and China, as responsible stakeholders, would take the initiative to establish international norms, technical procedures, and risk- management mechanisms in cyber space.

Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, said in a recent visit to the U.S. that the South China Sea issue is only an episode in the history of China-U.S. ties, and the two sides should take the higher ground to look into the far future by paying more attention to other more important regional and international issues.

Li said it is also the view of many American strategists that the South China Sea issue is not of such importance that it is worth military confrontation between China and the U.S..

Waging a disastrous war over this is "not in the interests of either country," he said.

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